6 ways to retain your small business customers

By Henry Brown

Whether you’re aware you’re losing customers or not, the chances are that some of them will by floating away for one reason or another. As business people, we’re often so focused on the people that we haven’t got the attention of just yet, when we should be focused on the people who have already ordered, know how your company works, and know what products or services you sell. Those are the one’s who you’re more likely to get a quick sale from. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t focus on bringing in new customers, it’s obviously an important aspect. But what we’re going to guide you on today is keeping existing customers. Here are six ways we think you can do just that.

Why haven’t they returned?

The first step is the most crucial. Finding out why your customers haven’t returned could mean the difference between getting those all important sales again, or letting your previous customers go away. All it takes is a telephone call or even an email to find out what you did wrong or why they haven’t returned to you. The answer could be something as simple as they haven’t required your services or products since, or it could be something that needs addressing.

[amazon_link asins=’0814434436′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’13dab13c-957d-11e8-9fbf-45c9d24e1824′]You will often find that customers don’t return due to pricing, another company that they’ve found, or the service that they received from you. None of these is good, but it definitely does give you something to work on. If you’re going to do this, we would highly recommend that you do it over email, rather than a phone call. If your customer list is big, you’re going to spend weeks making these calls. Whereas with emails, you could do something like a mass email, and get the attention of all of the people you need to within a matter of minutes. Bear in mind, however, you might not get a response from a lot of people. Not everyone will have the time, or even enough interest, to reply to your emails. If this happens, don’t be pushy. You don’t want to come across as being a nuisance!

Sales funnels

So, your customers have ordered something, they’re about to pay, and that’s the last time their name will ever surface within your company. Wrong! If you want to save your customers, you should definitely have a look at sales funnel templates. They’re the perfect way to guide your customers to another point of your website, without them even giving it a thought as to what you’ve done. All it will be is a little pop up that sends them to another product, a discount, or even to sign up to an email list.

Something so simple keeps them happy, them on your radar, and you making more sales. If they see that they’re getting a discount, they’re bound to order. But that’s something we’re going to discuss in the next section. For now, we hope that you will do some research into sales funnels, and see if they would benefit your business. Many templates are available; it all depends on what you want to offer. Make sure it’s an attractive funnel, and make sure the customer always has the option to click off it and continue with their order. The last thing that you want to do is seem pushy towards your customers.

[amazon_link asins=’099800300X’ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’1d91e027-957d-11e8-991e-69ad6bbbaaf2′]Customer incentives

Customer incentives are excellent if you want to keep people interested in your business. If you’re someone who just offers the basic service, or the basic prices, you’re not going to be doing anything that will attract them to want more from your company. You can choose from two types of incentives. The first is to obviously offer them a discount, whether it be through the sales funnel we’ve spoke about, or a returning customers discount. If you know the customer has ordered from you before and you’re trying to get them to come back, then the returning customer discount is going to be the best option. It can be any discount, off any product or order, all that matters is that you’re offering them something. You have to admit, every time you’re looking for a product to order, you’re always going to go for the company that offers you a discount!

The second option is to offer an order total incentive. So, you could say that for every second order, the customer will get a small product for free. Again, everyone loves a freebie, so doing something like this is obviously going to keep them coming back for more each time!

[amazon_link asins=’0735220034′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’28f44d8b-957d-11e8-8272-d7df332a0752′]Quality service & follow ups

This is really important, maybe one of the most important that we’re going to list. If you’re giving your customers a really high quality service, they’re obviously going to stick around for more. You’d be surprised at how many customers will actually turn down their order completely because of how they’re spoken to by your company.

Every business should have an ethos, and we highly recommend that yours contains parts about customer care and the quality of it. All of your employees should be trained in not only giving the customer the best experience with your company, but how to deal with difficult situations. We all know that some people can be very picky, and expect a very high standard of service. When their expectations are not met, they can become rather rude. Sometimes, employees can make this whole situation worse, so correct training in this area is important.

You should also think about following up with customers. A week or so later you can follow up and ask them how their experience was, if the service or product is treating them well, and what they think you could improve on. It’s a surefire way of keeping your customers keen!

Be better than your competitors

Like we’ve said, one of the reasons your customers might not be returning, is because you’ve got some competition that is ahead of the game. If you want to keep your customers flooding back, you should definitely try to be better than your competitors. This is going to involve a little research on your behalf, and you might even benefit from being pretending to be a customer to them, so you can see how their processes are run.

Follow up on bad press

You should never ignore a negative comment from a customer; this should be an area that you focus on the most. If you see a bad review, it’s the perfect opportunity to give your apologies, offer something like a free order, and get that customer back on board. If you don’t do something like this, and the bad news spreads about your business, then you can easily lose many more customers, even if something bad has never happened to them before!

So, if you follow these six steps, we think you should have a higher level of customer retention!


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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